Monday, September 28, 2009

Alternative Representation - Turn ins

The students were assigned to take a graphical image and to represent the image through a variety of alternative media. They took photos of constructed things. One of the photos should show work that they directed others in the making. Two of the photos should involve editing in Photoshop. Two of the photos should also have type added to work like an advertisement (these might not be shown in the album). Please click on the links below to view student albums through Picasa that show this project. Comment on photos of your choice in at least three of the student albums for a peer critique. Make sure you are logged in so we know who commented.

Allison Cooper,
Sara Godsy,
Mason Goth,
Lindsay Vogt,
Jordan Becker,
Sam Dixon,
Eva Meyers,
Elise Gregory,
Colleen Student,
Dan Fairweather,
Shelby Jenkins,
Rachel Dumsky,
Drew Boynton,
Tessa Cunningham,
Jeremy Stamer,
Shelby Wilson,
Aaron Templemire,
Tyler Ernst,
Jenny Gagnon,
Samantha Garton,
Courtney Roettger,
Zia Luehrman,
Annakje Vanlandingham,
Morgan Fann,
Chas Coffman,
Kristin Bryson,
Katie West,
Maggie Price,
Chardae Johnson,
Lisa Goedeker,
Tifani Carter,
Tierra Wurdeman,
Martha Webb,
Michael Arnone,

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Using Illustrator for Logos

Note to Intro Class:
Wednesday in class we will start using the computer for logo development. You should come to class prepared with a hand drawn logo ready to scan. This logo could be small but would work better if it is drawn at the size of your hand and filled in with marker. It is always best to start with a scan when developing work on a computer. We tend to see better and draw better naturally by hand. Once scanned we can force the computer to re-create faithfully our aesthetic choices. If you do not start with a scan there is a tendency to let the computer decide what is easiest to do. A computer created logo doesn't need to look like it was done on a computer. There are ways to make sure that your lines and curves still feel lively and natural. We will be primarily learning to use the vector pen tool. When using the pen tool try to use as few points as possible. Curving points should be placed at the extremes of a curve and have equally balanced control handles. This will all make sense later. You are welcome to use the same logo that you inked by hand, but it would be better for your portfolio to try a different logo. Perhaps another one from your process that you didn't choose to ink up. Inked logo is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday. If you require feedback, post it on your blog.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Logo Graphic Process

When faced with the task of creating a logo or graphic there is a temptation to pull out your pens and just draw something cool. If you are lucky it just might be truly cool, but most likely it will just be cliche and superficial. First ideas are dangerous, they prevent you from getting to those better ideas that require a little more work and process. Let me suggest a better process:
  1. Subject Text List - make a list of words that describe the themes that you are trying to say. Graphic Design should always start with a clear idea of what you want to communicate.

  2. Signifier Text List - continuing with text, list words that refer to or remind you of the subject that you listed. Include a friend, they may have ideas related to their experience that will give you more options

  3. Image Thumbnails - by getting started with words we can easily switch to illustrating them. Let yourself have fun with these images and doodle some variations on the obvious. Also remember to draw filled in shapes rather than line-described images; it will be easier for the next step.

  4. Scan for Opportunities - with a sheet full of drawings you can quickly do a visual scan and look for drawings that have qualities that would help them relate to other drawings. These graphical opportunities may be:
    • similar shape
    • complimentary edges
    • details that could co-exist
    • negative shapes that look like another drawing

  5. Redraw as Combinations - using your layout or tracing paper can help you to make new drawings that are combinations of more than one of the thumbnails

This does not have to be a linear process. Go back and forth between text and image to help you find ideas that you missed the first time.

Looking for Graphical Opportunities

A complex graphical communication may have many parts. To avoid a cluttered or busy look it helps to impose some order and consolidation. Here are three methods that may help:
  1. Side by Side Comparison- two objects are placed side by side or stacked vertically to get us to look at them as a similar pair. We relate the two because of their similarity and imagine logical connections or metaphors.

  2. Form a Single Object - draw the two as one object while maintaining the details from each that make it identifiable. This may involve sacrificing a portion of the object that is not necessary for recognition and allowing it to take on the form of the other.

  3. Positive and Negative Space - The holes or edge details in one object can take on the characteristics of the second object.

Two Methods for Developing Graphic Images

A strong graphical image is one that is clear, clean, quick, simple, abstract, and simplified.
Two strategies may help you make a better graphic image.
  1. Try to reconstruct the form using only geometric primitives:

    circles, rectangles, triangles, etc. . .

  2. Emphasize the stylistic elements that describe the form best while eliminating others:

    if your image is curvy, eliminate everything except the curves.

Gestalt - Required Post

People like to feel smart. If your design or art has a visual trick in it, that requires their interaction, people engage with the work and try to make sense out of it. Our brains are good at making order out of chaos and recognizing visual forms from collections of lines and shapes. Your work will make people feel good if they get it, but if they don't you leave them cold. Understanding principles of Gestalt Psychology may help you create visually stimulating work.
is where we are able to recognize forms from seemingly random collections of visual marks.

is where we perceive whole shapes where they are inferred as negative shapes by their interaction with positive shapes.

is where the collection of forms allows us to see more than one recognizable form, though usually not at the same time.

is where an object, even when transformed or translated significantly, is still recognizable.

is the Gestalt principle that says that we prefer to imagine groups and logical orders to visual things. It has several basic laws:

  • Law of Closure - we perceive closed and complete forms when given sufficient parts

  • Law of Similarity - things that are similar are perceived as a group or related

  • Law of Proximity - we form groups out of things that are closer or equally further than other things

  • Law of Symmetry - symmetrical forms are perceived as belonging together

  • Law of Continuity - once a pattern is recognized we perceive its repetition

  • Law of Common Fate - things that move or act the same are perceived as a group

Many Gestalt principles rely on a good use of positive and negative shapes. Altering edges of an object to serve a dual purpose for another form can help you to make use of Gestalt priniciples. Always take a step back from your work and try to see what sort of connections and visual order people will try to make of your work.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How to Draw an Eye

Draw an eye. Go ahead, I'll give you a few minutes.
What did you draw?

Most art students will draw a fairly detailed eye with iris, pupil, highlight, eyelid, eyelashes. This is what they have been taught to do. They are taught that the more "realistic" and more complex they can make their drawing the better it is. So this is where I have to un-teach them. Sometimes the best drawing of an eye is just a single dot. It is quick and easy to draw, and in the right context, it is easy and quick to identify. The single point eye is a powerful universal symbol for an eye where a realistic looking eye gets tied down to representing a specific age, race, sex, or character. When communication is the goal the quicker, more universal, less complex eye is better. There is no need to impress anyone with your rendering virtuosity, just show me an eye and make it quick.